How to ace a test
Step 1: Stop freaking out
Deep breath. Repeat after me: You can do this. You can do this. And you’re gonna do this. OK, exhale. Use whatever de-stress skills you have in your arsenal—rubber band on your wrist, deep breathing, meditation—to stay calm. Focus on the material you’re being tested on instead of your grade.
Step 2: Write your name at the top. Yes, really.
Stupidest reason for doing poorly on a test? Turning in a paper without a name. Yes, it’s happened to us. And don’t say it won’t happen to you. Just write your name on that paper.
Step 3: Do a once-over
Take the first 60 seconds—and just the first 60 seconds, time yourself—to glance through your test. Note the types of questions and the content. Consider which areas you can breeze through and which will take you the longest. Flip over every sheet of paper to make sure you aren’t missing anything.
Step 4: Make a plan
After your once-over, it’s time to figure out your plan of attack. Some folks like to start with the hardest sections first, while others warm up by breezing through the easier sections. Take whichever route is best for you and create a timeline. Decide, based on the total time left in the testing period, how many minutes you want to spend answering a particular group of questions. Check the clock periodically and move on if you need to. Remember, you can always come back.
Step 5: Follow through
Pick up your pencil and get to it, girl! Make sure you read the directions completely, and understand what they are asking for. If you’re not sure, ask your teacher for clarification.
On multiple choice-type Qs, read through the question and see if you can come up with an answer yourself before looking at the choices. Then, go with your gut—chances are it’s right. Stuck? Skip it and come back later, or use your ace deductive reasoning skills to eliminate unlikely choices.
For short answer and essay questions, take a minute to brainstorm a complete answer that addresses the entire question. Use scrap paper to scribble down a quick outline if you need to.
If you have absolutely no idea, save that Q for last and see what you can puzzle out from the rest of the test. Other questions and answers might give ya a hint as to what exactly the tricky question is asking for. You might not get it all right, but you should at least get partial credit. Better than nothing, right?
Last of all, leave yourself a few minutes at the end of the period to check your work. Make sure you answered every single question—remember, guessing in most cases than leaving it blank. Make sure your writing is tidy and you didn’t make any careless math or grammar mistakes. Then turn it in and forget about it, babe. You did the best you could—and that’s just great.
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